Texas Tech taking lead on Research Center of Excellence

The research center is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 7:09 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech is taking lead in a Center of Excellence funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The department’s assistance programs have to be accurate in all populations to determine the needs of each community, but the director of the center, Ali Nejat said the formula is constantly changing.

“Finding out how people are being disproportionately affected so that this can be revised dynamically as we go forward,” Nejat said.

The HUD research center at Texas Tech will work collaboratively with housing, disasters, environmental, urban planning and climate researchers from partner institutions. The $3.2 million grant brings Texas Tech together with Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas Southern University, Stony Brook University, the University of Kansas and the University of Waterloo to establish the Center of Excellence in Climate Resilient Equitable Housing (CECREH). They aim to provide evidence-based, innovative approaches to address undeserved community needs following natural disasters.

“What we have seen over the past many years, many decades, we have been exposed to a lot of disaster, natural hazards, there was a portion of the community that were disproportionately affected by those,” Nejat said.

Nejat stated those most affected by natural disasters are low-income communities with higher populations of minorities; when these communities are affected by disaster, it is not so easy to pick up and move or rebuild.

“How we can come up with a better way to have equitable options for minorities and vulnerable population in the wake of disaster,” Nejat said.

The HUD research center is working to identify the best way to assist these communities, not only post-disaster, but educating these communities on how they can be resilient with climate changes in the future.

“How to accurately calculate what are the needs, rather than just following a constant formula of doing that,” Nejat said.

The main goal of the center is to provide valuable research for local state and federal governments to address housing and community challenges.

“How that can be incorporated in the way HUD makes decisions and offer that to people,” he said.

CECREH joins the other two Centers of Excellence nationwide previously funded by HUD to conduct housing and community development research through innovative approaches aimed at underserved communities, with HUD making funds available to Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

The center will have many other projects during this time at Texas Tech. The Center of Excellence will report its finding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in hopes to influence policy surrounding undeserved communities and future climate changes.